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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Feb > Feb 3

Re: 'Standard Abduction Experience

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 10:44:11 -0600
Archived: Thu, 03 Feb 2011 12:23:21 -0500
Subject: Re: 'Standard Abduction Experience


>From: Nigel Watson <nigelwatson1.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 15:25:23 +0000
>Subject: Re: 'Standard Abduction Experience'

>>From: Ray Dickenson <r.dickenson.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 13:50:52 -0000
>>Subject: 'Standard Abduction Experience'[Was: Hopkins & Jacobs]

>>>From: Steven Kaeser <steve.nul>
>>>To: <post.nul>
>>>Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2011 12:21:33 -0500
>>>Subject: Re: Hopkins & Jacobs

>>>I believe there is a "standard" experience that researchers have
>>>identified, and that's part of the mystery. My understanding is
>>>that there are un-publicized "markers" that researchers look for
>>>to verify certain aspects of an alleged experience. This is
>>>similar to police investigations where they don't give all the
>>>facts to the press.

><snip>

>I think the the standard abduction structure has been shaped and
>created by the abductionists.

In common with a broad range of experience anomalies, abduction
phenomena have both general similarities and specific
differences. (I was personally investigating abduction reports
in the 1970s, before abductions became the big deal they would
be over the next two decades, and learned this - and much else -
quite early on.) As an overall proposition, the notion expressed
in the sentence above doesn't appear to be true, as Eddie
Bullard has demonstrated in his outstanding work on the
phenomenology of the experience. Still, there are, no doubt,
occasional exceptions.

Besides Bullard's papers, among the best assessments of the
phenomenon - devoid of the polemics that ordinarily define the
debate on both sides or that rely upon lazy demonization of
investigators - is psychologist Stuart Appelle's scholarly
overview The Abduction Experience: A Critical Evaluation Of
Theory and Evidence (Journal of UFO Studies n.s. 6, 1995/1996):
29-78. After a searching examination of the strengths and
weaknesses of all proposed solutions (prosaic and extraordinary)
Appelle concludes that no theory thus far proposed is without
grave problems.

In a wonderfully thoughtful, nuanced, but overlooked short essay
(Awakening Paralyzed In The Presence Of A Strange 'Visitor',
Alien Discussions: Proceedings of the Abduction Study
Conference, 1992: 348-53), behavioral scientist/folklorist David
J. Hufford acknowledges the deeply anomalous nature of the
abduction phenomenon (opening with a strange and puzzling case
treated by a psychiatrist colleague, not an "abductionist")
while criticizing narrow, theory-driven approaches. He writes:


"Much abduction theory, at present, is _way_ out in front of its
data, and its data collection and analysis are suffering as a
result. Adequate theory development regarding abduction
experiences will require rigorous phenomenological inquiry in
which the distinctions among observation, interpretation and
language are made and empirically supported... Good theory will
also require an openness to the possible relationships of
abduction sequences and other anomalous experiences, a
connection frequently emphasized by abductees themselves but
strongly resisted by many investigators...

Unfortunately the political divisions current within the
abduction research community _greatly_ increase the noise in the
signal we are attempting to understand, and they motivate hasty
theory development. Methodological and theoretical
sophistication require serious literature review and
interdisciplinary breadth - values which _many_ UFO researchers
do exemplify. Theoretical narrowness and exclusivity are always
damaging... If we are as narrow and dogmatic as the debunkers,
our conclusions will be just as mistaken as theirs."


My own view, probably something like Hufford's though arrived at
independently, is that abduction phenomena are unrelated to the
core UFO phenomenon (i.e., CE2s, radar/visuals) in any
epistemological sense. The only link is a superficial one of
appearances. For how this apparently works, I refer Listfolk to
my various writings on experience anomalies vs. anomalous
events.


Jerry Clark



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